What appears another major controversy over the employment of German tactician, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Super Eagles cropped up yesterday following a declaration by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, that he knew nothing about the deal.
Recall that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) recently selected Rohr to manage the Super Eagles despite the minister’s preference for a local coach.
Dalung was at the State House yesterday, Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the nation’s outing at the just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil, where Nigeria could only get a bronze medal in football.
He also appealed to the president for an official reception for the team.
The minister who told State House correspondents that he was yet to be communicated by the NFF of Rohr’s appointment, said the Samson Siasia-led Dream VI that won the football bronze medal at the Olympics, has not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.
The minister also faulted the treatment meted to the coach and the decision of the NFF to withdraw the official car given to him while on assignment at the Olympics.
Dalung, who earlier met with Siasia, said Nigeria still needed him to facilitate football development in the country, explaining that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.
He said it would be sad to have someone like Siasia frustrated and forced him to leave Nigeria to go and represent another country, as witnessed during the Rio Olympics, where many athletes were seen donning the jerseys of other countries.
Dalung further cleared the air on the $390, 000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing, attached to the donation.
The Minister who also cleared the air on the poor outing of Team Nigeria in Rio, attributed the development to late release of funds and inability to churn out home-grown talents, especially as many in the continent that performed relatively better were home-trained.
He said it was high time Nigeria revisited the basic architecture of sports in the country, stressing that “we need to go back to grassroots” and groom talents for future competitions.
Dalung also took a swipe at his critics, saying that he was not the problem of Nigerian sports as being portrayed, adding that abysmal performance predates his appointment.
He argued that the National Sports Commission (NSC) was necessary, but was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.